The original Die Hard turned 25 this year. (How is this not a bigger deal?!) We all know it’s a great movie. Yet here’s something to consider.
It’s one of the few movies I can think of that created two legitimate stars, both virtually out of thin air: Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman. Prior to Die Hard, Bruce Willis was in Moonlighting, a TV series that is fair to middlin’. It is to Bruce Willis what Bosom Buddies was to Tom Hanks. Alan Rickman was in some obscure British TV shows. Both parlayed Die Hard into lucrative careers — Bruce Willis by being in more Die Hard films, Pulp Fiction, the Sixth Sense, and a number of action movies which are varying degrees of awesome (not to mention the severely underrated Whole Nine Yards); Alan Rickman most notably for Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, but also for great roles like Metatron in Dogma, Marvin in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (a movie they seriously need sequels of), the Sheriff of Nottingham in Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood, and he was even motherfuckin’ Rasputin in the movie of the same name.
I’m not saying either one of them deserves a bucket of Oscars (although Alan Rickman should have at least been nominated for one of the Harry Potter films, even if the role was tailor-made for him), but they’re both legitimately great, and Bruce Willis in particular has international appeal (they have him hocking loans — LOANS — in a St. Petersburg ad campaign).
I can’t think of a single movie that also launched two careers of this magnitude. Maybe the Godfather Part II (for Al Pacino and Robert de Niro), although both were also in one fantastic film before that too (Godfather Part I/Bang the Drum Slowly).